The realities of the weekly Fantasy Premier League grind have fully returned after the first three game weeks of the 2023/24 campaign. As missed penalties, blank game weeks, benched assets and opportunities missed go by, managers might just be glad to finally get a break from it.
This is because there will be a two-week pause for the September international window after game week 4. We all sure want to go into it with a bang.
Question marks over Mohamed Salah’s future this week will understandably draw uneasy managers away from captaining the prolific Egyptian, and for good reason. Assets from Brentford, Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham will provide strong options in game week 4 so differentials would be key.
The FootballCastle will provide all the best alternatives with or without Salah and you should be sure to make these changes ahead of the game week 4 deadline at 6.30 pm BST on Friday, September 1.
Champions Manchester City have continued their typically supreme form with an incredible defensive stability that has seen them concede only once in the first three games.
By boasting the lowest expected goals (xG) conceded, Ederson is mostly in line for a clean sheet due to City’s ability to restrict opponents in counter-attacking situations. Although Fulham will be tricky visitors, the goalkeeper should still be able to pull off some saves, bonus points or maybe even another clean sheet.
Alphonse Areola (£4.1m)
Despite awaiting his first clean sheet of the campaign, the Frenchman has saved a penalty and conceded only three times in as many games. Areola has earned save points and was on form against Brighton as he thwarted the Seagulls time and again in GW3.
An excellent low-budget option for an undefeated West Ham side.
Ethan Pinnock (£4.5m)
The towering centre-back is a consistent threat from set pieces with Brentford scoring the second-most goals from dead balls last season. The Bees’ strong defensive unit makes Pinnock a strong option for points in any game and GW4 against Bournemouth could well feature his first attacking haul of the season alongside a clean sheet.
Rúben Dias (£5.5m)
The Portuguese is Man City’s standout defensive asset after returning from injury and with John Stones’ injury. The Premier League champions are strong contenders for a clean sheet against Fulham this weekend and Dias is as likely as anyone to pop up with a set-piece goal.
Malo Gusto (£4.1m)
The Frenchman has deputised for the injured Reece James and showed exciting attacking potential after his two assists to Raheem Sterling in GW3. That performance alongside the clean sheet against Luton earned him 14 FPL points and Gusto will be high up wishlists with his inviting run of fixtures and eye-catching price.
Jarrod Bowen (£7.0m)
Bowen has begun the season much better than he did last term but he has somewhat gone under the FPL radar with his 23 points being among the highest in the game.
The forward scored and provided an assist last time out at Brighton and he is a key asset in West Ham’s trip to Luton. Although the first-ever Premier League game at Kenilworth Road will not be an easy night out for the Hammers, Bowen is a major weapon and he is expected to wreak havoc down the same right wing where Chelsea scored all three goals from in GW3.
Phil Foden (£7.6m)
The Manchester City attacker came on for the final four minutes to assist Rodri’s winning goal after only making the bench due to illness. Foden is now on two assists and as many clean sheets from just three matches and his FPL numbers will continue to soar in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne.
The 23-year-old’s importance has increased alongside his playing minutes following the departures of Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan this summer. Foden is now the creative leader of the best attacking team in the league and his goal and assist threat makes him a fantastic choice for your squad.
Fulham at home in GW4 is the ideal game to pick up plenty of attacking returns.
Bryan Mbeumo (£6.8m)
The Cameroon international finally blanked against Crystal Palace, but his three goals in the first three games are enough evidence that this is one of the best-value midfield options in FPL.
Mbeumo has the highest xG (3.29) among midfielders ahead of facing Bournemouth at home and as a nailed-on starter, he offers varied attacking returns playing in the frontline whilst being a penalty-taker.
James Maddison (£7.7m)
The former Leicester playmaker has hit the ground running in a Spurs shirt with his one goal and two assists so far. Maddison already looks like the creative lynchpin of Ange Postecoglou’s side after Harry Kane moved to Bayern Munich.
Tottenham have also kept two clean sheets and a good run of games bodes well for Maddison’s form with newly promoted Burnley up next. Vincent Kompany’s side are vulnerable from set-pieces and the attacking midfielder would have lots of avenue for returns as he can both score and assist.
Raheem Sterling (£7.2m)
The English winger is now the most transferred-in player for GW4 after two goals and one assist for a mammoth 19-point haul against Luton. Sterling has looked back to his best in recent games and Mauricio Pochettino’s side have a good run of fixtures to maintain that form.
Nottingham Forest visit Chelsea after conceding six goals already and Sterling will be one of the most likely players to get attacking returns having scored all three Chelsea goals in their two games last season.
Bukayo Saka (£8.6m)
Saka will be one to watch when Arsenal play Manchester United for the most electrifying fixture of the weekend having scored against the Red Devils last season.
The winger has already scored twice in the first three games and could deliver a huge haul against a side that are struggling with defensive issues. He is sure to start and be on penalty duties for the Gunners.
Darwin Núñez (£7.3m)
The Uruguayan had his best Premier League moment in the cameo that won the game for 10-man Liverpool at St James’ Park. After those two clinical finishes late on, Núñez has earned a starting spot in GW4.
Should he be selected from the start, the striker would get ample opportunities to get on the scoresheet against a side that has conceded six times in the first three matches.
Erling Haaland (£14.0m)
An uncharacteristically off day saw Haaland hit the post from the penalty spot against Sheffield United before finding the net with a towering header. FPL managers can expect a roaring response from the striker in the next game against Fulham who have not won at City since 2009.
Ollie Watkins (£8.0m)
The striker has laid on an assist in each of his three games so far and you just feel the goals are coming next. A trip to Liverpool might prove to be Watkins’ day as the hosts are without Virgil van Dijk while Villa are the league’s second-top scorers.
Watkins possesses the guile and industry to create or assist goals and Liverpool’s shaky defence will be wary of him in GW4.